MIAMI GARDENS (CBS4) – For 350 million dollars, Sun Life Stadium could have a roof and some great upgrades and be in line for future Super Bowls.
The big question is: who should pay for those renovations to the privately owned stadium, the billionaire owner or private money with a mix of public funds?
That was the question being debated by South Florida auto magnate Norman Braman and famed attorney HT Smith.
Braman is strongly opposed to any public funding.
“This is welfare for a multi billionaire, a man who is the 83rd wealthiest person in the United States,” said Braman.
Smith believes using money from hotel bed tax from mainland Miami-Dade hotels is the way to go.
“I don’t know about your community, my community can’t stand any more taxes, let the tourists pay! We’ve been screwed enough! Excuse me ladies, we’ve been messed up enough,” said Smith.
Braman argued that residents have heard this same pitch before when the Marlins got public money for their stadium.
“Youv’e been fooled once, you’re going to be fooled again, and that’s what this whole matter is all about,” said Braman.
“But there’s another revenue stream,” said Smith. “It comes from sales tax money from items bought by fans at the stadium. It’s a public private partnership. Both parties should contribute. Both parties should receive a benefit from it.”
Before any improvement would be made, three things would have to happen: The deal would have to be approved by the legislature, then by Miami-Dade voters. After that, NFL approval is needed to host Super Bowls 50 or 51 in South Florida.
If any of those approvals fail, the whole deal is dead.